Why did the Golden State Warriors beat the Los Angeles Clippers in Game 4?
You could focus on Mark Jackson’s decision to start Draymond Green, Stephen Curry’s stellar play or Andre Iguodala’s offensive impact. But in only 29 minutes of action, Klay Thompson was one of the key reasons why the Warriors defeated the Clippers 118-97 to even up their first round playoff series.
Thompson fouled out after only playing 29 minutes and if the NBA would have decided to change the foul limit to eight fouls just for Game 4, Thompson stilled would have fouled out as he got away with a few more fouls. But Thompson was crucial in the Warriors victory.
Thompson is listed as a shooting guard, but the Washington State product is listed at 6 feet 7 inches tall, and has played even bigger this series. Thompson is heralded as a three-point specialist, and for good reason, as his quick shooting stroke is one of the reasons why the Warriors offense is so lethal. But his defense has been even more important against the Clippers .
Thompson has been tasked with guarding Chris Paul and has done quite well when defending the superstar point guard. Yesterday afternoon, Paul finished with a mediocre 16 points and six assists, not to mention five turnovers. Paul, who is banged up with a hamstring injury, has been frustrated with Thompson’s length all series long and as an added bonus of the Warriors small starting lineup which saw Draymond Green play 41 minutes compared to Jermaine O’Neal who only played 10, the Warriors were able to switch every pick-and-roll and not allow Paul to get easy looks at the rim.
Thompson struggled in Game 2, scoring a mere seven points on four total shots, but looked reenergized at home with a combined 41 points and hauling in a combined 11 rebounds. But for the Warriors to win Game 5 in Los Angeles, not only is Thompson’s offensive production important to the Warriors success, but his defense as well.